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June 29, 2007, Alert No. 1,604.
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Senate Commerce Committee Approves Caller ID Bill

6/27. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) approved S 704 [LOC | WW] the "Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007". See, SCC release.

This bill is similar, but not identical, to HR 251 [LOC | WW], which is also titled the "Truth in Caller ID Act of 2007". The House approved this bill by voice vote on June 12, 2007. See, story titled "House Approves Caller ID Spoofing Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,594, June 13, 2007.

The Senate version of the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), would amend 47 U.S.C. § 227 to provides that "It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States, in connection with any telecommunications service or IP-enabled voice service, to cause any caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, unless such transmission is exempted pursuant to" Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. The bill provides that the FCC could exempt anything that it "determines appropriate".

The House version of the bill adds a limitation to the basic prohibition -- "with the intent to defraud or cause harm". The House bill would leave the FCC less discretion.

The two bills contain differently worded law enforcement exceptions.

The Senate bill adds a criminal prohibition. The House bill has none.

The Senate bill also authorizes enforcement by states. The House bill does not.

The Senate bill also allows for damages of up to "$1,000,000 for any single act or failure to act".

Senate Commerce Committee Again Approves Bill to Create MSI Tech Grant Program

6/27. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) approved S 1650 [LOC | WW], the "Max Cleland Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act". See, SCC release. Bills to provide grants to minority serving institutions (MSI) for technology have also been considered in prior Congresses.

This latest bill, which is sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), would create at the National Science Foundation (NSF) an Office of Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology.

It also creates a grant program for MSIs. It also authorizes the appropriation of $250,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2012.

This is not a new bill. It is the 110th Congress version of S 432 (109th Congress), the "Minority Serving Institution Digital & Wireless Technology Opportunity Act of 2005", and S 196 (108th Congress) and HR 2183 (108th Congress). Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) was the sponsor of earlier versions of the bill in the Senate. He lost his bid for re-election in 2006. Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA) lost his bid for re-election in 2002. He was the sponsor of an even earlier version of the bill, S 414 (107th Congress), the "NTIA Digital Network Technology Program Act".

These bills, which have enjoyed more success in the Senate Commerce Committee than in the House, would provide grants to Alaska Native serving institutions and Native Hawaiian serving institutions, among other MSIs.

Senate Judiciary Committee Subpoenas President, VP, DOJ and NSC Regarding Warrantless Electronic Surveillance

6/28. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), issued subpoenas on June 27, 2007, to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the National Security Council (NSC) for documents relating to an electronic surveillance program.

The SJC authorized the issuance of these subpoenas on June 21, 2007. See, story titled "Senate Judiciary Committee Authorizes Issuance of Subpoenas Directed at Bush Administration Regarding Surveillance" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,599, June 21, 2007.

Sen. Leahy issued a release that states that these subpoenas seek documents related to "authorization and reauthorization of the program or programs; the legal analysis or opinions about the surveillance; orders, decisions, or opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) concerning the surveillance; agreements between the Executive Branch and telecommunications or other companies regarding liability for assisting with or participating in the surveillance; and documents concerning the shutting down of an investigation of the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) relating to the surveillance".

See, subpoena [PDF] to Joshua Bolton of the White House Office, subpoena to David Addington of the Office of the Vice President, subpoena [PDF] to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and subpoena [PDF] to Phillip Lago of the NSC. These subpoenas set a one month deadline for compliance, and also compel testimony before the SJC on July 18, 2007.

None of these subpoenas are directed to either telecommunications carriers or the National Security Agency (NSA), which carry out this electronic surveillance. The NSA is a huge agency that carries out surveillance programs. The NSC, which is the target of a subpoena, is a unit within the Executive Office of the President.

President Bush has not yet responded to these subpoenas. However, on June 28, 2007, Fred Fielding, Counsel to the President, asserted executive privilege as to other Congressional subpoenas.

Fielding wrote a letter [3 pages in PDF] on June 28, 2007, to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (HJC), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), regarding HJC and SJC subpoenas for documents related to the appointment of U.S. Attorneys. The letter states that "the President has decided to assert Executive Privilege and therefore the White House will not be making any production in response to these subpoenas for documents."

The White House press office released Fielding's letter, as well as Solicitor General Paul Clement's letter [8 pages in PDF] of June 27, 2007, to President Bush, in which he advised the President that "It is my considered legal judgment that you may assert executive privilege over the subpoenaed documents and testimony."

House Committee Holds Hearing on SEC

6/26. The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) held a hearing at which the five Commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) testified. The SEC submitted prepared testimony. SEC Chairman Chris Cox gave a lengthy opening statement.

Both the written testimony, and Cox, addressed the SEC's development of interactive data, which is currently a voluntary program. See, the SEC's interactive data web site.

The SEC testimony states that "the SEC itself is tagging the 2007 executive compensation information for all of the S&P 500 with XBRL labels. We will soon be posting a set of easy to use interactive data software tools on our website that will make the executive pay data interactive. Beyond performing calculations and comparisons online, anyone will be able to download the information directly into an Excel spreadsheet or other software program of their choice."

It adds that the "SEC is committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that XBRL remains an international, stateless, and open source standard".

The prepared testimony also states that the SEC "considering ways to facilitate greater online interaction among shareholders by removing any obstacles in the current rules, such as the ambiguity concerning whether use of an electronic shareholder forum could constitute a proxy solicitation".

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a member of the HFSC, asked Chairman Cox if the SEC might permit public companies to change their charters to provide for mandatory arbitration of shareholder disputes. Cox responded, "We do not have a pending or proposed or more mature rule or procedure governing this." Cox also later stated that "private litigation is a very important adjunct to SEC enforcement".

Supreme Court Denies Cert in Case Regarding Discrimination Against Foreign Attorneys

6/25. The Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCUS) denied certiorari in LeClerc v. Webb, a challenge to a protectionist law of the state of Louisiana regarding attorney admissions. See, Orders List [12 pages in PDF] at page 10.

Supreme Court of Louisiana Rule XVII, Section 3(B) limits admission to the Louisiana Bar to citizens of the United States and aliens who have permanent resident status in the United States, but not aliens who lack permanent resident status.

The petitioners were citizens of France and Canada who have law degrees, and who have been admitted into the U.S. under J-1, L-2, or H1B visas.

LeClerc and others filed complaints in the U.S. District Court (EDLa) seeking a declaration that Section 3(B) is preempted by federal immigration law and violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The District Court ruled against the foreign attorneys, and the U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir) affirmed. And now, the SCUS's denial of certiorari lets stand these judgments.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submitted an amicus brief urging the SCUS to deny certiorari. It wrote that the issues are "1. Whether a state bar rule that allows citizens and permanent resident aliens to become members of the bar, but that precludes aliens who are not permanent residents from becoming members, is preempted by federal immigration law. 2. Whether that state rule violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

This case is Karen Leclerc, et al. v. Daniel Webb, et al., Sup. Ct. No. 06-11, a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 03-30752.

Leclerc is represented by Jeffrey Sarles of the Chicago, Illinois office of the law firm of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw. The Innocence Network submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the petitioners.

See also, SCUS Docket.

People and Appointments

6/29 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Deborah Tate named Chris Moore to be one of her Legal Advisors. He was Deputy Director of the FCC's Office of Legislative Affairs. Before that, he was a Senior Attorney-Advisor in the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau. He has also been detailed from the FCC to the office of former Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT). He has also worked for the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), the Kentucky Public Service Commission, and Sprint Corporation. See, FCC release [PDF].

6/28. Michael Baye was named Director of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Bureau of Economics. He is a professor at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He will replace Michael Salinger, who will return to the Boston University School of Management. See, FTC release.

6/28. President Bush nominated Christopher Egan to be the U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Egan is President and Managing Member of Carruth Capital. See, White House release and release.

6/28. President Bush nominated Donald Marron to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Marron is Deputy Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). See, White House release and release.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Saturday, June 30

Trade promotion authority expires.

Sunday, July 1

Opening date for sending a Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials to shareholders. See, the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) rule [119 pages in PDF] regarding voluntary internet availability of proxy materials. See also, notice in the Federal Register, January 29, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 18, at Pages 4147-4173. And see, story titled "SEC Adopts E-Proxy Rule Changes" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,506, December 15, 2006.

Monday, July 2

The House will not meet on July 2-6 due to the Independence Day District Work Period. See, House 2007 calendar.

The Senate will not meet on July 2-6 due to the Independence Day District Work Period. See, Senate 2007 calendar.

11:00 AM. The Heritage Foundation will host an event titled "Irrational Politics: What's Happening to Free Trade?". See, notice. Location: Heritage, 214 Massachusetts Ave,  NE.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Copyright Office (CO) in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding the operation of, and continued necessity for, the cable and satellite statutory licenses under the Copyright Act.. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 16, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 72, at Pages 19039-19055. See also, technical correction notice in the Federal Register, April 24, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 78, at Page 20374.

Deadline for those persons who are scheduled to testify at the Copyright Office's (CO) hearings on July 23 through July 26, 2007, regarding the operation of, and continued necessity for, the cable and satellite statutory licenses to submit to the CO copies of their prepared testimony. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 23, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 99, at Pages 28998-29000.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its request for comments updating its record on the Center for the Study of Commercialism's (CSC) Petition for Reconsideration regarding stations that air home shopping programming and their status. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 17, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 95, at Pages 27811-27813.

Wednesday, July 4

Independence Day.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal offices will be closed. See, Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) list of federal holidays and 5 U.S.C. § 6103.

Friday, July 6

Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Computer Security Division (CSD) regarding its Draft Special Publication 800-44 Version 2 [PDF] titled "Guidelines on Securing Public Web Servers".

Effective date of the rules changes contained in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Memorandum Opinion and Order [PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Facilitating Opportunities for Flexible, Efficient, and Reliable Spectrum Use Employing Cognitive Radio Technologies". This item responds to two petitions for reconsideration of the FCC's 2005 cognitive radio report and order submitted by Cisco Systems and Marcus Spectrum Solutions. This item is FCC 07-66 in ET Docket No. 03-108. See also, notice in the Federal Register, June 6, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 108, at Pages 31190-31192.

Monday, July 9

There will be no votes in the House.

8:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) will host an event titled "Second Annual ETA Payments Education and Discussion Forum". The ETA states that this event "is designed to provide Congressional staff, regulators, and law enforcement with a working knowledge of the acquiring side of the electronic payments business. Topics will include an overview of the roles/responsibilities of entities in the payments system; the components of an electronic transaction; and industry efforts to protect cardholder data." See, notice [PDF] and program agenda [PDF]. For more information, and to RSVP, contact Rob Drozdowski at 202-828-2635 x203 or rob dot drozdowski at electran dot org. A continental breakfast will be served. There is no charge. Location: Columbus Room, Union Station.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in SRI International v. Internet Security, App. Ct. No. 2007-1065, a patent infringement case. Location: Courtroom 201, 717 Madison Place, NW.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Cybersettle v. National Arbitration Forum, App. Ct. No. 2007-1092, a patent infringement case. Location: Courtroom 203, 717 Madison Place, NW.

2:00 PM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Dolby Labs v. Lucent Technologies, App. Ct. No. 2006-1583, a patent infringement case. Location: Courtroom 201, 717 Madison Place, NW.

2:00 - 3:30 PM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP) will meet. For more information, contact counterfeiting at uschamber dot com or 202-463-5500. Location: U.S. Chamber, 1615 H St., NW.

Deadline to submit petitions to deny and initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its review of the proposed merger of XM Satellite Radio Holdings and Sirius Satellite Radio. See, Public Notice [5 pages in PDF] (DA 07-2417).

Tuesday, July 10

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Nilssen v. Osram Sylvania, App. Ct. No. 2006-1550, a patent infringement case. The U.S. District Court (NDIll) held that the patents in suit are unenforceable for several reasons, including that Nilssen did not pay a large entity fee to the USPTO, but granted a non-exclusive license to a large corporation. Location: Courtroom 201, 717 Madison Place, NW.

Deadline to submit comments to the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding its Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. The RUS proposes to change its rules regarding funding in competitive markets and new eligibility requirements, new equity and market survey requirements, and new legal notice requirements. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 11, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 91, at Pages 26742-26759

Wednesday, July 11

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's (HCC) Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images  Hearing". Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in Toshiba v. Juniper Networks, App. Ct. No. 2006-1612, a patent infringement case involving telecommunications equipment. Location: Courtroom 203, 717 Madison Place, NW.

2:30 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's (DOS) Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (ACICIP) will meet. The agenda includes a "report on recent bilateral discussions with China's Ministry of Information Industries and with Mexico's Ministry of Communications and Transportation, as well as upcoming bilateral discussions with India's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and with Brazil's Ministry of Communications; and also to report on recent developments regarding the President's Digital Freedom Initiative". See, notice in the Federal Register, June 14, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 114, at Page 32939. Location: Loy Henderson Auditorium, Harry Truman Building, 2201 C St., NW.

Day one of a two day event hosted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) titled "Spam Summit: The Next Generation of Threats and Solutions". See, FTC notice and Spam Summit web page. Location: FTC's satellite building conference center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW.

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